If you haven’t been following this miniseries (or the Buffyverse this season at all), you may be a tad lost so let’s just do a quick recap of where things are. Magic is gone. “Gone” gone. New Coke gone. But Buffy and the gang (across all of the titles) are on a mission to restore magic to the world. The seed of magic has been destroyed but remnants of it still exist, and by collecting these shards of the seed and going to a Hellmouth (we all remember what that is, don’t we?) power can be restored. Spike was just on such a mission with his team of sentient insects and their spaceship (yes, you read that right… remember when I said it’s never what you expect?) when he teams up with a succubus to continue on his journey. They each have their own reasons for wanting to restore magic, and when they discover that another Hellmouth exists on Easter Island that is just where they go.
Along the way, the succubus proceeds in her attempts to seduce Spike, much to the concern of the bugs (the 2 main ones named Frisky and Sebastien – yes, really). Spike does not fall for her tricks, as he still wants Buffy. Even though he left her in the main book, it was because he needed to strike out on his own and the attentions of this woman/succubus clarified for him where he belongs: with Buffy. Of course, the rejection is not taken well – how many succubi do you know that would take a “no” well? Exactly. So, of course, she takes out the frustration on Spike and he goes… well, bumpy. Spike figures out that the succubus already has a shard of the seed of magic – even though they were both supposedly searching for it – and she escapes Spike, Frisky and Sebastien to land on Easter Island where she prepares to use the seed to open the Hellmouth.
I’m currently picking up all of the Buffy books put out by Dark Horse and this issue doesn’t disappoint. I know Spike has had his own series in the past, but it’s always been to tell his story without a grandiose inclusion into everything else. This miniseries, written by Victor Gischler and art by Paul Lee, gives Spike his “freedom”, if you will, but ties it in to the bigger picture of Buffy Season 9. Although I would not say this is my favorite artwork ever, not every piece of artwork is suited to every title. Paul Lee’s art, however, does suit this book so there are no worries there.
I am glad that this story still falls within the full “season” of Buffy. The characterizations were spot on, and I could picture James Marsters actually voicing Spike while reading this issue. This story could not have been told on TV at all, partly due to a Buffy story without the Slayer would not fly but also the special effects for the sentient bugs, their bug space ship, and a succubus going to Easter Island would use up much of their budget. These are stories that definitely belong in comic form – the deviations, the character changes (anyone remember Dawn as both a giant and a centaur from Season 8?)… This could not have been done on TV. Well, it could have been, but then Buffy would only be 12 episodes a season to account for the budgets. I am glad that the show continues on in this form, and this story is definitely complementing the grander scheme that Joss et al have for Season 9.